Through the whole, sometimes long and painful process, it‘s easy for parents to become impatient with emerging readers. We want our children to feel comfortable and successful when they read, and to love reading. So when kids struggle to read we want to help. But… when it just doesn’t seem to “click” for them the way it is for other kids or their teachers say that “Jimmy” just isn’t listening you begin to worry. That’s where we come in. The Reading Writing Connection treats every child (and adult) as an individual and provides specialized instruction designed specifically for you or your child.
We know it is frustrating (and often confusing) trying to navigate the school system and get your child the help he/she so deserves to become a capable and confident reader. Often children are promoted into the next grade without being helped or told that “he will catch up” and you just hope this is true. Trust your instincts. If you have any questions or concerns about your child regardless of their age or even yourself, why not schedule an appointment and get some answers. Once an evaluation is completed THEN you plan your next steps.
Call today to set up an evaluation or if you have questions. 517 -787-8620
Below are some additional resources you might find useful in the meantime.
All Kinds of Minds
All Kinds of Minds is a private non-profit institute affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and founded by Dr. Mel Levine. This site explores different learning patterns and offers concrete alternatives to one-size-fits-all education.
Dr. Levine’s companion site includes decoding and memory activities that simulate what reading is like for a person with a reading disability. It also includes basic information about reading problems and helpful tips for talking with children about their strengths and weaknesses. The site is based on a PBS TV series that profiled Dr. Levine’s work.
Internet Resources for Special Children
A site dedicated to sharing recently published information, Internet Resources for Special Children allows users to search by disability to find news articles and books about reading problems and other special needs.
This site contains a comprehensive index of useful information for parents about learning disabilities. A unique feature is an interactive bulletin board where parents can exchange information.
National Center for Learning Disabilities
This site includes information about referral services, educational programs and legislative efforts to help individuals with learning disabilities.
Books for Parents
The Dyslexic Scholar – Helping Your Child Succeed in the School System
Author: Kathleen Nosek
Publisher: Taylor, 1995
This book is an excellent guide for parents as they navigate the public school system and work with teachers and specialists to obtain educational evaluations, establish learning goals, and ensure appropriate accommodations are in place to help assist children with dyslexia.
Dyslexia: Theory and Practice of Remedial Instruction
Author: Diana Brewster Clark and Joanna Kellogg Uhry
Publisher: York Press, 1995
This book defines dyslexia and describes and compares eleven widely-used remediation programs. Readers gain information needed to make informed decisions about instruction and treatment.
Parenting a Struggling Reader
Author: Susan L. Hall and Louisa C. Moats
Publisher: Broadway Books, 2002
Acknowledging that a child can struggle to learn to read for years before her school system diagnoses and addresses the problem, this book provides realistic guidelines a parent can follow to identify a reading problem and help a child become a reader.
Smart Kids with School Problems: Things to Know and Ways to Help
Author: Priscilla L. Vail and Patricia Vail
Publisher: Plume, 1989
This book offers explanations of why some children excel in some areas, while struggling in other school subjects. Specific remedial techniques and strategies for improving reading and test-taking are included.
Straight Talk About Reading
Author: Susan L. Hall and Louisa C. Moats
Publisher: Contemporary Books, 1999
The book includes benchmarks to flag reading problems, explicit activities and games to support children’s progress in reading, and discussion of ways parents can advocate for a child if a problem is suspected.
Books for Children
All Kinds of Minds: A Young Student’s Book About Learning Abilities and Learning Disorders
Author: Mel Levine
Publisher: Education Publishing Service, Inc., 1987
This book contains five short stories, each depicting a child with a different type of learning disability. It is an excellent book to read and discuss with all children to raise self-esteem and increase sensitivity.
Josh: A Boy With Dyslexia
Author: Caroline Janover and Edward Epstein
Publisher: Waterfront Books, 1995
This is the story of Josh, a 10-year-old boy with dyslexia who moves to a new town and struggles to learn his way around his new neighborhood and trick his teachers into believing he can read. In the beginning, Josh is tormented by the school bully. By the end, he becomes a true hero by helping the pestering bully.
Thank You, Mr. Falker
Author: Patricia Polacco
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group, 1998
Thank you, Mr. Falker is a beautiful picture book that is based on the real-life experience of the author. The main character starts the fifth-grade at a new school and her teacher uncovers her secret–that she cannot read. He brings in a reading teacher to help her make sense of the “wiggling shapes” and learn to read.
Ennis’ Gift: A Film About Learning Differences
This film documents the lives of celebrities, athletes, scientists and many others, all with learning differences. To each of them, learning differences proved to be gifts and have made them more open to their strengths. Visit the Hello Friend Web site to watch a clip of this video.
Picture of Success
This 16-minute video, starring artist Pat Buckley Moss and Dr. Larry Silver, tells the life stories of two very successful dyslexics. It is a great video to use when talking with children about finding one’s true talents.
Nobody’s Perfekt: A Video Beginner’s Guide to Learning Disabilities
Experts within the field of special education share basic information about learning disabilities on this video. Three families who have dealt with learning disabilities also share their experience.
International Dyslexia Association
This organization provides access to an international network of people invested in advocating for people with dyslexia, including educators, diagnosticians, psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, tutors, parents, and individuals with dyslexia. Members can also become active in one of forty branch chapters serving the United States and Canada or a national affiliate chapter in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America.
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Dedicated to preventing learning disabilities and improving the ways learning disabilities are identified and treated, this organization supports research, disseminates information, and promotes the legal rights of people with learning disabilities.
This listserv provides brothers and sisters of children with disabilities a place to share information, support each other, and make friends with other siblings of children with disabilities. Sibkids@yahoogroups.com
Glossary of Terms
Techniques and materials that may help children with reading difficulties to complete regular curriculum. Examples of accommodations include books on tape and use of a word processor for writing.
A testing process that determines a child’s overall level of intelligence as well as a profile of relative strengths and weaknesses.
Techniques that children can use and develop to help them compensate for weaknesses. For example, a child with dyslexia may learn to use a computer spell checker to help him edit his work as a way of compensating for weak spelling skills.
The ability to figure out how to read unknown words by using knowledge of letters, sounds, and word patterns.
A condition in which children of at least average intelligence have extreme difficulty learning to read. Dyslexic children have difficulty learning to decode and spell words.
Using one’s knowledge of letters, sounds, and word patterns to spell.
A series of tests administered by one or more testers that determines the source of a reading difficulty and outlines effective strategies for remediation.
Individualized Education Plan (“IEP”)
A plan developed by a public school team to help an individual child. An IEP outlines educational goals, specific services that will be offered to help a child achieve those goals, and a plan for how and when a child’s progress will be assessed.
Unexpected difficulty learning in one or more realms related to academics, such as reading, writing, mathematics, and social skills, in children with at least average intelligence.
An approach to learning that involves more than one sense. Simultaneously tracing a letter made out of sandpaper and saying the letter’s name is an example of multisensory learning.
A psychologist whose evaluation focuses on the way in which a child’s brain works.
A professional who evaluates a child’s fine motor skills, ability to perceive visual information, and ability to use visual and motor skills together smoothly. This professional can also help children with fine motor and perceptual difficulties.
A specialized technique for teaching children with dyslexia and severe decoding difficulties to read and spell. This technique is a multisensory program that provides direct instruction and repeated practice in decoding and spelling. One-on-one instructional techniques based on Orton-Gillingham include Alphabetic Phonicsand The Wilson System, while adaptations designed for classroom use include Project Read andSlingerland.
The smallest unit of sound. The word “up,” for instance contains two phonemes: “uh” and “puh.”
The ability to hear similarities and differences among phonemes. Strong phonemic awareness results in the ability to rhyme, to list words that begin and end with the same sound, to break words into individual phonemes, and to blend phonemes together to make a familiar word. Phonemic awareness is essential for learning to read.
The system of relationships between letters or letter combinations and sounds in a language.
The ability to understand what one reads. Reading comprehension may be affected by the difficulty of the text, the vocabulary words used in the text, and the reader’s familiarity with the subject matter, among other factors.
Difficulty meeting reading milestones for a given age or grade. A child can have difficulty with one or more aspects of the reading process. A reading problem may also be referred to as a “reading difficulty.”
Another term for dyslexia.
Specialized instruction that helps a child improve her reading skills.
Commonly occurring words that children are expected to recognize instantly as wholes.
A professional who evaluates children’s speech articulation and language (speaking and listening) skills. This professional can also provide therapy to help children with speech and language difficulties.